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Thundering applause for storms

I have long thought there should be an awards show for thunder. Last week was validation. It was a small storm that rolled into town, but the thunder was outstanding. It jolted the bed, rattled the windows and shook three pictures on the wall into perfect horizontal alignment.

There have been a lot of interesting stories made up by parents to explain thunder to their children. If thunder truly is the sound of angels bowling, Gabriel must have broken 200 last week. If thunder is someone rearranging furniture in heaven, it was one massive dining room table and chairs that were dragged into place.

Aristotle was the first philosopher to try and explain thunder, saying it was the sound made by clouds colliding. He was wrong, but he was probably just repeating what his mother told him.

A decent thunderstorm, and by decent I mean the kind that rolls in, gives a good concert and leaves without leaving a trail of downed branches and smashed guitars, is a requisite for summer. It is a seasonal necessity -- like lightning bugs, potato salad and filling an inflatable pool.

A good thunderstorm knocks you awake and leaves you wide-eyed in the safety of your own bed. There's something invigorating about nature shaking the sass out of us and reminding us who's boss.

Naturally, an awards ceremony for thunder would be in an outdoor amphitheater, not some air-conditioned theater. There would be a walkway, but not a red carpet. This walkway would be green Astroturf so soaked with rain that it squished with every step.

The event would be emceed by meteorologists telling corny weather jokes like: "If you see a heat wave, should you wave back?"

Nobody would care what people were wearing because all the attention would be fixated on the sound.

The Best in Show award would go to the round of thunder that most sounds like a herd of buffalo stampeding directly through your house.

The Symphonic Achievement award would go to the peal of thunder that incorporates the kettle drum, the timpani, the snare, and then brings in cymbals for the really big finish.

The rat-a-tat, tat-a-tat, tat-a-tat thunder would be awarded the Most Sounds Like Artillery award. This should not be confused with the Boulders Crashing Down the Mountainside award, which would go to cracking thunder.

Best Supporting Role in a Storm would be divided between gentle rain that sounds like white-glove applause and driving rain that sounds like a fire hose trained on a metal shed.

The grand award, Best Rolling Thunder, would be awarded only to storms in Western states with big skies and wind-swept prairies. Rolling thunder confines itself to the wide open spaces where it can rumble for hours on end, sounding like a gigantic impaired digestive system confronting a fully loaded pizza. This award should be accepted by some storm nut who would actually sit in a rocker on the porch of a Country Inn and Suites for an entire evening just to listen to roll after roll, rumble after rumble.

I accept.


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